For someone sleeping rough in Worksop this Christmas, a shoebox filled with the simplest items could mean the world.
Homelessness charity HOPE Community Services are encouraging people to fill a shoebox with small gifts such as toiletries and sweets to make the festive period just a little bit brighter for those on the streets.
The shoeboxes will also benefit service users at the charity’s new accommodation, which opened on Queen Street in September.
Two of these service users are Kerriann Lewis and her husband Dean, who lived in a tent in a graveyard before calling on HOPE for help.
Kerriann said: “I woke up in that tent every morning crying for my family, who were trying to help us but were struggling themselves.
“They used to bring us food, but I became suicidal and if it were not for HOPE I am pretty sure I would have just given up.
“We became homeless after we had some problems with our landlord and were unable to pay our rent. We had nowhere to go and I just wanted to end it all.
“At HOPE, not only do I have a roof over my head but I also have access to counselling and I’ve made some great friends in other service users.
“Things are picking up for me, but there are still people out there who are in danger of giving up too.”
Dean said: “The hostel is spot on. I’ve been sleeping rough on and off for twenty years and I can finally see a future.”
The charity has received around 15 shoeboxes so far and hopes more will arrive before Christmas Eve.
CEO Alan Diggles: “HOPE is celebrating its 20th year, but we still rely on donations from the public after funding cuts.
“Our new hostel is great, but we are still having to turn people away because we don’t have enough beds.
“A shoebox filled with practical items means someone sleeping rough at least doesn’t have to worry about feeling or clean and has a scarf to wear.
“One of the boxes we have received even has a friendly note from a well-wisher saying they hope the recepient of the box is in a better place.”
Shoeboxes can be dropped off at the HOPE office, based on Queen Street next to the new hostel.
For more information call the charity at 01909 531294 or visit http://www.hopeservices.org.uk.
SHOEBOX FILLING IDEAS
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Shower gel
- Feminine care products (for women’s boxes)
- Male/female razors
- Chocolate bars
nwgu hope shoe boxes as 3: CEO Alan Diggles thanked everyone for their donations so far.
nwgu hope shoe boxes as 5.JPG: Service users Kerriann and Dean Lewis swap shoebox gifts.
nwgu hope shoe boxes as 6.JPG: Development worker, Emma Longmore, Chief Executive Officer, Alan Diggles and Kerriann and Dean Lewis with some of the shoe boxes that have been donated.
nwgu hope shoe boxes as 1: Development worker, Emma Longmore and Chief Executive Officer, Alan Diggles check some shoeboxes which have recently been brought to the centre.
NWGU-06-05-16_sleep_out_4: HOPE are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.